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S13.E06: The Bunker


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On 09/11/2017 at 2:48 PM, JMO said:

I’ve been trying to think about whether I would have enjoyed this more if the entire premise (and the location of the missings) hadn’t been given away in the promo and sneak peeks, two weeks ago. 

Maybe.  But it had all been given away two weeks, ago, along with any hint of suspense.  CM really needs to wrest control of its publicity arm.  Since we pretty much already knew the plot, there was really no need to spend so much time down in the bunker with the victims and unsubs. 

This is a broken record, but there are too many people on this team.  This episode, it led to an unusual degree of stilted line delivery, especially by the profilers who were pushed to the sidelines.  It’s hard to get much inflection going when you only get to speak eight or ten words at a time.  It was fascinating how much the members of the team each knew about the whole doomsday clock idea, including the specific dates of events contributing to it.  Fascinating, how they all had to share an exposition that might have once belonged, in its entirety,  to Reid.

There are times when ‘direction’ can function as its own character in a production.  That can be a good thing, or not.  I appreciated that Aisha Tyler tried some different things, but I’m not sure those things always contributed positively to the scene.  The bodycam technique, so successfully employed by ‘ER’, made me motion sick when it swung around Rossi, Tara, Luke and Matt.   

The parameters given to Garcia to deduce the unsub and his partner were more preposterous than usual, especially given the instant responses.   

And Reid.  Poor Reid, who continues to be more abused by the writers than he ever was in prison.  He’s back to being socially awkward (intruding into a conversation with the ‘I read about a guy who only owned 79 items, including his underwear), and emotionally blunted (his reaction to being trapped in the bunker, ending with the ridiculous thing about not accounting for finger fatigue).  Of everything about this episode, I am most disappointed with the treatment of Reid as a caricature once again.  I hope this was an aberration, and not a harbinger of things to come.

AJ did well with her focus. I expected some final reflection on having been able to return the sister of the woman with whom she'd been meeting, in contrast to her own situation.  Since they brought up the whole idea of her being able to relate on that basis.

I'd like to offer to help Garcia find an apartment in whichever unnamed location Morgan now inhabits.   

Agree with this post completely!!! Also with the idea that this episode could have been more interesting if Reid and JJ were trapped in the bunker for longer period and trying to get everyone out.

Seriously Reid could not figure out the door code?? SERIOUSLY?

Also no signs of PTSD even after being locked in that confined space? Not even a little reaction? I think it is completely cured now.

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Hated it. Hated the COTW, hated Garcia talking to her toys, the whole bunker set up (from the fakest looking fake rock to the ipod broadcasting soothing music and the ridiculously healthy-looking children), hated the cliche ending of all of them piling into the elevator. I rolled my eyes so many times I lost count. 

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That's the thing about Reid and his not!PTSD or PTSS in this episode....... just wait, something much less significant will set it off in a later episode.  Calling it now, and anticipating the anger & disbelief it will cause.

I would have been able to handwave it IF they had made mention of it before the episode ended - about his mind being more on saving JJ and the 'victims' than himself - but it was never addressed, so it was made to look like he never went through the whole prison experience in the last half of the previous season.

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I think they've done a good job of showing Reid's twitchy-ness and his attempt to ease back into it. Remember, the entire team took substantial time off, weeks, to recover after Scratch, and Reid's still receiving counseling.

I'm not sure seeing him be trigger-boy and flinch at everything around him would further his story much, or inspire any confidence from his fellow agents. No doubt they'll have him be more reflective on his experience, if and when it's addressed.

I personally think that would be more Reid-like. Him trying to sort out his own experience, in his own time.

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53 minutes ago, Willowy said:

I think they've done a good job of showing Reid's twitchy-ness and his attempt to ease back into it. Remember, the entire team took substantial time off, weeks, to recover after Scratch, and Reid's still receiving counseling.

I'm not sure seeing him be trigger-boy and flinch at everything around him would further his story much, or inspire any confidence from his fellow agents. No doubt they'll have him be more reflective on his experience, if and when it's addressed.

I personally think that would be more Reid-like. Him trying to sort out his own experience, in his own time.

I don't disagree with what you're saying, but life isn't (always) predictable.   Getting locked in a cage should have had (at least slight) ramifications on Reid's post-prison recovery.

JMO and MMV.

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10 minutes ago, iRarelyWatchTV36 said:

I don't disagree with what you're saying, but life isn't (always) predictable.   Getting locked in a cage should have had (at least slight) ramifications on Reid's post-prison recovery.

JMO and MMV.

JMO is confused.  Just kidding.  

I tend to think of Reid as living a reflected life, no matter what the state of it.  So I would agree that he would be working on integrating his experiences into his life's story.  But that's not what PTSD is (or PTSS, or whatever they've decided to call it).  PTSD inhibits one, sometimes on a daily basis, and sometimes in unanticipated circumstances.  It was certainly not a given that the bunker experience would trigger something.  But one can't carry the diagnosis (which the show gave him) without a symptom.  If Reid has PTSD, then we should be seeing something.  Unless there is a happy announcement, one episode, that he's been healed, after which he takes a trip to the Grand Canyon.

Edited by JMO
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I don't need to see him have a panic attack or anything overly demonstrative. The look on his face was incredible, and more than enough for me to see his wheels turning, his gut clenching (though I do wish it was a longer scene, to have had more of him and JJ trapped together).

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My fear is that if they keep showing him glitching out, that he'll appear weak, and like he isn't healing. Unless he's been severely mentally damaged (to the point of incapacity) by the experience, there's been enough time for healing to begin. I find their timeline to be so far pretty appropriate. Now if they don't show or discuss anything any more ever? That would be weird.

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This could have been easily handled in a way that would have appeased mostly everyone...

They could have had Reid say that it could take an X-amount of time if he put his mind to it, but he couldn't quite fully focus so it would take longer.  Then have JJ be encouraging about it being ok as it gives them a moment and brainstorm on what to do after they get free, and then Reid could get to work on finding the right code.

It doesn't explicitly paint him as really struggling with it, but also implying that the situation pings off his memories of prison & his healing PTSD(or S) from said memories.


I am having trouble with him just "brushing it off", if it is what is going on, because the guy has an eidetic memory.  It isn't that he's forgotten prison already.  Without stating he's no longer compromised by it all, it looks like bad writing to seemingly ignore in situations where it should be noticeable, no matter how slightly.

Edited by iRarelyWatchTV36
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There's not time, really. I'd love it if they could focus on every subtlety of Reid's recovery, capture his every expression, track his every movement. 

No seriously, I would. 

Come on guys. There isn't time. It's not bad writing and it's not that he's 'brushing it off'. How can you say that six episodes into the season? There are SEVEN other fully fleshed characters they need to make time for, as well as the Unsubs and their victims. Sorry to say but Reid isn't going to get the lion's share of time for nuance and recovery grace notes. He WILL probably get an episode or two as Erica has already said yeah, he's not going to be unchanged from this experience. I look forward to that.

What I won't look for is him quivering and flinching in each and every episode, That's not the Reid I know. He's an FBI agent on an elite team and he WILL suck it up. But I do look forward to further exploration of what's going on with him internally. In the fifteen (or I guess twelve with him} episodes they have left, I do have faith they won't ignore him completely.

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In its prime, the show was so much better at capturing the fallout of things that had happened with the characters.  I remember the camera going to Reid for a mere second, to see his eyes shift uncomfortably when the team was discussing addiction.  Emily's gaze staying on him just a beat longer than necessary, when he demonstrated such familiarity with the twelve steps.  Countless times Hotch would stare at one or another of them, no words spoken, just a hawkish concern for how they were dealing with things.  These were all intentional.  The actors had to know to act, the camera operators to film, and the directors to include.  

I can speak only for myself, but I suspect that there are many others who, like me, have no expectations that we'll get all-Reid, all the time (alas).  While I can't agree that we've got seven fully-fleshed other characters (and please, show, do NOT fully flesh the newbies, at the expense of the others---not unless you've got another three seasons in you), the bodies are there, nonetheless.  They will have lines, and be on screen.  We've already bemoaned the size of the team, so I won't do it again here.

What I am looking for is that intentionality that we used to get.  I don't care that Reid didn't react in the bunker, because that part of the episode was too crowded to even get into it.  I do care that he was made to look the awkward fool again in the opening bullpen scene.  And I especially care that there wasn't a pregnant pause, and a look of regret, before he announced he'd like to be in Paris with his mom.  That would have cost absolutely nothing in terms of time, but been a welcome nod to what mother and son had been through (and may still be going through, who knows---certainly not the audience!).  Kudos to AJ/JJ for giving him a sympathetic look about it.  Because it was a wide group shot, and would have been included regardess, I wondered if it had been the actress' choice.    

I guess the whole point is that it's the moments that are woven in, and not the dedicated episodes, that make stories rich and give depth to characters.  I miss those moments.

Edited by JMO
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17 hours ago, iRarelyWatchTV36 said:

That's the thing about Reid and his not!PTSD or PTSS in this episode....... just wait, something much less significant will set it off in a later episode.  Calling it now, and anticipating the anger & disbelief it will cause.

I would have been able to handwave it IF they had made mention of it before the episode ended - about his mind being more on saving JJ and the 'victims' than himself - but it was never addressed, so it was made to look like he never went through the whole prison experience in the last half of the previous season.

yep. 

and it wouldn't have taken much. I could've done without that whole 'the guy in California with 79 items to his name, including his underwear' line.  They could've used that amount of time at the end of the episode (where we got that overly long extended shot -comparatively speaking- of the sisters being reunited) to have him heave a sigh of relief and have this sort of quick exchange: JJ touches his arm and asks 'you okay?' (knowing what they'd gone through) and he could nod and say 'I am now. Just. That cell.' She squeezes his arm and says 'It rattled me a bit too. But we're good, you did good.' He looks out over the reunited sisters 'Yeah, it's all good now."     (something along those lines, anyway)

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8 minutes ago, Annber03 said:

Now I'm imagining them all coming out of the elevator (or an SUV, for that matter) clown car style :D. 

I amused myself more imagining them all crammed in should the elevator break down than when actually watching a very subpar episode. I know they insist on giving most of the story away in the promos but they do seem to have totally lost the art of creating a sense of suspense and jeopardy.

Edited by Old Dog
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I know we've gotten way off topic here, but I would love to see them film an actual clown car scene for the blooper reel this year.  At least it would be an acknowledgement of the situation.

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Reidfan said: "JJ touches his arm and asks 'you okay?' (knowing what they'd gone through) and he could nod and say 'I am now. Just. That cell.' She squeezes his arm and says 'It rattled me a bit too. But we're good, you did good.' He looks out over the reunited sisters 'Yeah, it's all good now"

This is really good!

Sorry didn't use the quote feature, it's wonky on my phone.

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1 hour ago, JMO said:

I know we've gotten way off topic here, but I would love to see them film an actual clown car scene for the blooper reel this year.  At least it would be an acknowledgement of the situation.

Oh, how I wish they would do this!!!!!!!!

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I debated whether or not this is a "B" or a "C"...I mean, I enjoyed it on a level, but I also felt there was a lot the episode lacked.

First...seeing SNL alum Darrell Hammond was a real treat. I thought there were times he undersold it, but there were also times I bought him as a creepy, unhinged doomsday cult guy.

I mean, it's not like Hammond doesn't have experience...after all, he did play a creepy, unhinged Sean Connery all those years on SNL.

I also think this was a great concept for an episode. Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me, but I don't believe CM has ever done a "doomsday culter kidnaps his help" episode. I know we've had "The Forever People" and "Minimal Loss", but neither involved kidnapping their recruits as the basis for the episode.

Having said that...

OK, so I get the predilection network TV has for happy endings, so I get that they didn't want the sister they focused so much on as well as the kidnap victims we did meet to end the episode without "getting back to normal".

I get that part.

Now, I could go on a screed about how none of those victims will ever "get back to normal" because their experiences will scar them for life, but I think we all know that by now.

The real problem with this episode is that I find it downright laughable that a few words by the FBI agents- neither of whom are trained at "de-programming" (OK, so maybe Reid's at least read about it)- is all it takes to break them from their stupor. These were people held in the bunker for years, there's no way a few words was going to get them to turn on their master.

Worse for me, though, is seeing that neither of the kidnap victims got "broken". Perhaps this is not impossible, but I'm getting tired of these "strong victims who overcome it all", especially when they contrive things as they did here to basically solve the case for CM.

I'm sorry, but the show goes to that well too much, and this episode was particularly egregious since it sidelined the entire team.

I mean, fine, just like the UnSub-heavy episodes, if CM wants to do this kind of episode I'm not against it- but only if they do it every now and then.

Otherwise, why have the BAU if we'll never get to really see them in action?

The other part of this is that I'd like to see an episode where everyone's broken and the cult guys succeeded in messing with their victims' heads that we genuinely ask the question, "what is there for the BAU to save?"

Besides, wouldn't it be fun if the BAU, just once, had to deal with battling a victim that sides with the UnSub? Maybe in a grand battle royale where the BAU winds up actually saving nobody because the victims were all successfully brainwashed?

Melancholy, yes. Perhaps even downright depressing...but, I think after 13 years, we can start mixing things up. I think we can handle a sad ending every now and then.

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But you see I keep having to ask myself if that one extra team member really is the problem. Or is the problem really with the writing itself and the creative decisions made by whomever,not just for the show in general but for the characters themselves. The show started out with 5 profilers they now have a total of 7. So what did they do in order to compensate for those extra profilers. These geniuses these Einsteins decided to put even less emphasis on the profiling itself. I should clarify myself and say that I am referring to the type of profiling that they did in the earlier seasons. Which of course was so much more than the team standing around taking turns speaking a line or two when giving the profile.

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I found it very odd that they had an eye witness recording the 2nd kidnapping. I mean what was she recording? She was filming a woman putting shopping into a car who just HAPPENED to be kidnapped. Very odd!

And yes a few more "BRIGHT LIGHT!!!!" and  "WHAT IS THIS OUTSIDE" from the kids would have made sense? 

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I thought of a twist for this episode:

What if the wife convinced the husband to build the bunker and then tricked him into thinking the world really blew up? The husband stays behind and looks after his "guests" (whom he doesn't realize have been kidnapped), and since he firmly believes the world is destroyed (not knowing otherwise), the guests start to believe it too.

Meanwhile, the wife is the one who actually does the kidnapping, and is engaging in this long con with the husband for some reason.

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